What Does It Take To Post on Substack
Notebooks, Pens, and Computers
Ninety-five percent of my writing starts out with pen and paper. Why? Well, I’ve found that it is a lot easier for me to compose what I need to write about. It gets me away from the computer. I’m sure a lot of people do it this way too. Recently, I have read some other people’s newsletters and they say the same thing.
You can go to a quiet place and concentrate on what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Otherwise, you’re staring at a blank screen wondering what you’re going to write. I’ve gone to noisy places as well. I seem to block out all the activity and write. I get on a roll and just forget about what is going on around me.
I write the first draft on paper. What kind of paper? I use a notebook. You can see the photo above. This one is red. I don’t really care what color the notebook is. It doesn’t really matter. I seem to always get red. I have a blue notebook for my written Linux instructions. Some of those commands are hard to remember. That notebook ended up storing the Linux stuff I needed but then I ran out of pages with my writing notebooks and I took over that one too. You can never have enough notebooks. As you can see, it is a spiral notebook. The pages can be ripped out without tearing them too. They have a crease down the left edge that allows a clean edge when you rip it out. I didn’t think I would rip them out, but lately I’ve got so many different stories, non-fiction and fiction, going that I have trouble keeping track of them. So I have had to rip them out and staple some of them. I’m using a small red stapler I used when I was a kid. It seems to have lasted all these years. Nothing seems to wear out.
I like to write in a college-ruled notebook. I can get more material down than with a regular-ruled notebook. Once, I went to the store and I thought I got college-ruled. When I got home and went to use it, I said, “Oh man, I got the wrong one.” And I was looking so closely at the notebooks. But the problem is they have so many choices and sometimes the boxes are labeled weirdly. I’ve noticed the three subject or five subject notebooks work best for me. I get mine at Walmart.
Up above, you’ll see one of the pages I wrote. The writing is a bit hard to understand in some places. I can write pretty fast. Sometimes when I try to type it into the computer, I look at a word and wonder what it is. It resembles chicken scratch. I even have to get the magnifying glass out and look at it. And that doesn’t help all the time either. Then I have to write something else because I have no idea what it is. Anyone else have this problem?
I used to use a ballpoint pen. Then I ran into problems. As fast as I was writing, I couldn’t make out some of the words. It was like the pen wasn’t putting down all the ink. It might have been because I wasn’t pressing hard enough. Ballpoint pen will fade. It’s true. I can attest to it.
Currently, I’m using a Pilot Precise V7 RT Premium Rolling Ball. What a mouth full that was. It’s a 0.7 mm black ink refillable. Although, I don’t think my store has the refills. I was using a Pentel R.S.V.P. Fine 0.7 mm black ink rolling ball pen. The reason I’m not using the latter anymore is because I couldn’t find it. I looked on the Walmart website before I left for the store and they said they had it. When I got there, I looked all over. They have all kinds of different pens but I couldn’t find that one. They had re-designed the aisle again and the pen was not in the place I normally get it. As usual, there were no employees stopping to ask if I needed help. So I bought the Pilot. Once I got it home and started using it, I didn’t really like it. At first, it didn’t seem to be as smooth as the Pentel. As the days went on, I got used to it and it seems to work alright. I guess I had to work the kinks out. And then tonight when I started typing this into my laptop, I noticed that both pens were 0.7 mm. I thought the new pen was larger. I guess I should have looked at the packaging more closely. Oh well, it works. That’s what counts.
After my first draft on paper, I start typing everything into my desktop PC or my laptop. My laptop is experiencing some problems so I don’t know how long it will last. As I’m typing on it right now, it’s making all of these weird noises. It sounds like the motor for the fan. When I originally got this brand new in 2005, it made that noise too. But now it seems to be worse. It also has a severe heating issue. It starts getting hot right where your hands are on the case as you type. The battery is shot.
I don’t know why but I can type faster on a laptop than on a desktop PC. I don’t know if it is the small keyboard, the height I am sitting at, or what.
I got off track there, sorry about that.
So I type everything into the desktop PC. I use LibreOffice Writer. This software is the Linux equivalent to Microsoft Word. It’s also available for those who have Windows. It’s free. Who doesn’t like free right? You’re probably wondering what Linux is. I’ll explain that in another post.
As I’m typing in the text, I make edits along the way. They may be additions or deletions. Then, I’ll read it through again. I’ll see if I need to make any changes. There might be some word changes. I have a huge book of synonyms. If you don’t have one, I recommend it. I can’t believe all of the different word combinations there are. If you need a recommendation for a good book to get, ask me.
Once I read it over one more time, I put it online. When I get it into the editor on Substack, I read it over again. You don’t know if you missed anything or not. Sometimes I’ll change something that doesn’t seem right at the last moment. Then I’ll read it again during the testing phase. I’ll read it out loud one more time just to make sure it sounds right. I’ve caught things that way more than once.
Then it’s finally time to publish. And then it goes out to all the subscribers and is available to everyone online.
Until next time, happy reading.
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I used to be the same. I'm a very visually oriented person and I could add flair to how I structured the placement of the words so that I would remember the inflection and emphasis I intended. My problem was that it was slow. By the time I got to my next thoughts, they were many times lost or diluted. Out of self-defense, I learned to type really, really fast. Now I can keep up... most of the time. But I have lost some of that flair. I can put it in with spacing, bold, italic, etc. but it slows me down and distracts. I need something that just reads my mind and my intentions. :-)
Excellent, I like to learn about other people's creative methods and processes!